We should have booked one more night in Kirishima, Japan!

We arrived in Kirishima on a cloudy Tuesday at around 6pm. We had been driving for three hours from Obi and we were eager to get to our hotel. We had made Kirishima our resting point before continuing the next day to Makurazaki. Kirishima is the second largest city in Kagoshima prefecture, it’s a town well known for its hot springs and nature walks. After a power nap we were hungry and ready to explore this small city. We quickly grabbed directions from the hotel staff whom all seem to point to one location. We grabbed the map back and quickly headed out the door.

We were confident with finding the well marked spot on our map, and we did, thanks to the hotel staff who precisely marked our map with a trail of little arrows, all heading to our food destination. We were soon observing a little street with local izakayas, they were all tempting us to enter. We  began to check each one by gently opening their door to get a peek of the ambience and food people were eating. We were soon dragged in by a convincing hostess and upon setting sights on the chef, I immediately thought Elvis is living in Kirishima.  

We had entered Zajurin, a seafood izakaya serving local seafood and shochu. This was our first stop and we eased into the night by ordering a local fish, Kibinago (silver lined herring) sashimi with a Kirishima potato shochu.

kibinago (silver lined herring) sashimi

After watching the couple next to us indulge in their dishes, we had to have some of it too. So we ordered Takenoko no miso yaki (grilled bamboo shoots with red miso). The young shoots were delicious, perfect with the spread of sweet red miso paste.

Takenoko no miso yaki (grilled bamboo shoots with red miso)

We were happy but hungry for more, so we moved on, searching for the next local fare. We walked a little bit further and began to hear sounds of cheerful customers, what seemed to be a celebratory occassion. As we got closer we instatntly recognised the smells gently hitting the Kirishima skies, Oden! We were almost about to celebrate the moment ourselves, just like when you find something long lost, suddenly everything seems so perfect. We had arrived at Oden No Tsukasa, the place was full, we were asked to wait, a couple of spots by the counter would soon become available.

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Oden: Moyashi, Daikon, Kinchaku, Atsuage, Satsumaage, Konnyaku, Tamago, Satoimo, Syungiku

Oden is normally a winter meal, but I can have it any time of the year, it has a few ingredients like boiled eggs, daikon, konjac, and fishcakes, all stewed in a light, soy flavoured dashi broth, often a good splash of sake is added too.

We take our seats directly opposite to the Oden chef  who was masterfully looking after his Oden vessel. He suddenly pulled out a big peice of kombu (seaweed) and replaced it with a new one, splashed some sake and tasted his masterpeice, like a chef should before serving his customers. We order some of our favourites, moyashi, daikon, kinchaku, atsuage, satsumaage, konnyaku, tamago, satoimo, syungiku. We polished our plate with a very cold off-tap Kirin beer, a perfect beverage with oden.

Teba (fried chicken wings)

Our attention was suddenly directed towards the chef’s assistant, he had began to prepare chicken wings. We quickly learned one of their popular orders was fried chicken wings. We timed his efforts, seventy chicken wings preped in four minutes, impresive work. One chicken wing at a time, he would grasp the bones at the tips and pull one bone out firmly, twisting the bone to release it from the cartilage. We were so impressed by his skill that we ordered some, the batter was light but super crispy and the meat succulent and moist, we sit back, sip more beer, at that moment we were convinced we should have booked one more night in Kirishima!

Zajurin

Address: 3-35-20-1 Kokubu Chuo, Kirishima, Kagoshima

ph: (+81-50-5869-1457)

Oden No Tsukasa

Address: 3-35-3 Kokubu Chuo, Kirishima, Kagoshima 
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